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At first glance, the new Four Seasons Hotel Lanai at Koele, A Sensei Retreat seems like an anomaly. Why put a high-end, all-inclusive, adults-only resort on a small, humble island whose one little town doesn’t even have a traffic light?
The answer became abundantly clear during my recent stay at the 96-room wellness retreat, which opened in November. As hotel manager David Emig told me, the property fashions ultra-personalized vacations unlike any other Hawaii resort.
“Whether guests have a specific health goal or are looking for time away with a partner, we can create an experience to accommodate anyone’s desires,” he said. “We appeal to people curious about developing daily practices to live richer, longer lives.”
Guides and GardensEvery guest is assigned a Sensei guide, many of whom have master’s degrees in wellness-related fields. Shortly after check-in, I met with my guide, Marcus, for an insightful conversation about my lifestyle goals, along with a health screening.
“We match intentions with actions and help guests figure out their own path,” he explained.
Together, we customized my hotel itinerary, balancing down time with scheduled activities such as morning meditation in the resort’s serene yoga pavilion, and movement classes in a lovely studio with bamboo floors and high ceilings. Clients can request follow-up consultations on topics like mindfulness, nutrition and stress management.
In its former life as Lodge at Koele, the hotel sported a hunting lodge ambiance. Throughout this visit, however, it felt like an entirely different resort thanks to an estimated $75 million renovation.
The lobby, called the Great Hall, features cream and tan decor and an 80-foot-long glass wall. High-tech touches in my room included a 75-inch LED television; intuitive light and temperature controls; a Toto toilet; and an iPad with information on the hotel and the island, along with a concierge chat feature.
Outside, I explored a landscape of hidden hot tubs, elaborate gardens, firepits and a mind-bending collection of commissioned art and sculptures.
Inclusions All AroundAs a true all-inclusive, the hotel bundles all food and beverages (including alcohol) into its rates. In the main restaurant, Sensei by Nobu, I sampled menus designed by famed Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and a team of nutritionists. Each bite demonstrated a dedication to island-harvested, sustainable ingredients, including the most flavorful tomatoes I’ve ever tasted in Hawaii.
In the more casual Koele Garden Bar, I savored equally fresh fare while chatting with staffers — all carefully handpicked for their jobs — who share a genuine sense of pride in the hotel.
Rates include body treatments in the resort’s 10 private, 1,000-square-foot spa hale (cottages). Each hale features an infrared sauna, a steam room, an ofuro bath (a Japanese-style tub), a plunge pool, lounging space and indoor and outdoor showers.
Clients have complimentary access to the nearby Lanai Adventure Park, which presents ground and aerial challenges to nudge people out of their comfort zones.
Additionally, guests receive roundtrip air from Honolulu; use of an exclusive Honolulu airport lounge; and Tesla transfers between the Lanai airport and the resort.
By the time I left, I understood why the hotel’s location works so well. Since it presents such a fluid, personal experience, it belongs in an inspirational place like Lanai, full of natural beauty, innate peace and hospitable residents. It’s the perfect combination for clients seeking a truly unique Hawaii retreat.
The DetailsFour Seasons Hotel Lanai at Koele, A Sensei Retreatwww.fourseasons.com